Dec 05, 2023  
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Environmental Science, Geospatial Sciences Concentration, M.S.

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Environmental Sciences


The Master of Science in Environmental Science is offered with three concentrations: Geospatial Sciences, Natural Resources, and Plant Sciences. The degree is offered with two options, thesis or non-thesis.

The thesis option in all the three concentrations - Geospatial Sciences, Natural Resources, Plant Sciences requires a minimum of twenty (26) credit hours of course work and a thesis of four (4) credit hours. The candidate for the degree in all three concentrations must complete twelve (18) credit hours of core courses: AGSC 5060, AGSC 5110, AGSC 5120, AGSC 5500 or AGSC 5510, AGSC 5260, AGSC 5610, AGSC 5620; twelve (12) credit hours minimum of required courses in the selected concentration.  The non-thesis option in all the three concentrations requires a minimum of thirty-five (35) credit hours of course work. The candidate for the non-thesis degree must complete eleven (11) credit hours of core courses: AGSC 5060, AGSC 5110, AGSC 5350, AGSC 5610, AGSC 5620; fifteen (15) credit hours minimum of required courses in the selected concentration. These courses must be approved by the Advisor and Department Chair.

The College of Agriculture, at Tennessee State University, is partnering with Peace Corps Master’s International program to offer students the opportunity to earn credits toward a Master of Science degree in Environmental Sciences while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers.  This partnership is a part of the Peace Corps Master’s International program, which allows volunteers to combine Peace Corps service with a master’s degree program and receive credit for Peace Corps service abroad. 

Under this program, students may earn up to six graduate credit hours for Peace Corps service to fulfill up to six hours of requirements for the Master of Science degree in Agricultural Sciences.  Participants must apply to Peace Corps and Tennessee State University separately.  Please contact the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences for details and requirements for the degree program. Open the link for more information on the Master’s International program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree with a major in one of the Agricultural Sciences or Environmental Science or Forestry or Geography or other related sciences, a minimum quality grade point average of 2.50 on a 4.00-point scale, and a minimum score of 290 on the GRE (verbal and quantitative) or 370 on the MAT for unconditional admission. Higher GPA from the accredited colleges and universities or GRE scores may be used to compensate for some minor deficiencies in admission requirements. 

Program of Study and Admission to Candidacy

The degree candidate must file a program of study after completing at least nine semester hours of graduate credit, but before completing fifteen hours of graduate credit. The program lists the courses which will be used to satisfy degree requirements, as well as detailing how other requirements will be met. The student may later change the program of study with the written approval of the Department and the Graduate School.

When the candidate files the program of study, he or she may also apply for admission to candidacy. The candidate must have a grade point average of 3.0 or above and successfully defended the thesis proposal (thesis option) or successfully passed the written and oral comprehensive examinations (non-thesis option) to be eligible for admission to candidacy.

Degree Requirements

Thesis Option

Each student must pass Research Methods (AGSC 5110) and Statistics for Research (AGSC 5060), must have a thesis advising committee appointed and must have advanced to candidacy before enrolling in Thesis Writing (AGSC 5120).

The candidate must submit a thesis on a topic approved by the major advisor. Upon completion of the thesis, the candidate must satisfactorily pass an oral examination conducted by the Thesis Examination Committee. Students choosing thesis option are required to complete 30-credit hours of course work which includes four (4) credit hours of thesis research.

Non-Thesis Option

This option is for students who would like to focus on training in specialized areas to meet the needs of employers in environmental issues and sustainability, natural resources management, specialized fields such as forestry, wildlife management, ecology, conservation biology, and geology, teaching, agricultural extension services, and various state and federal government agencies. This program is not recommended for students who have any aspirations toward pursuing a Ph.D. degree.|

Students choosing the non-thesis option will be required to take a minimum of 35-credit hours of course work which will include AGSC 5350 - Independent Study of Contemporary Issues and Problems. Graduate students with guidance from their major advisor will identify contemporary issues and problems in agricultural and environmental sciences, conduct a comprehensive literature review, write a report in a format of a review paper and make an oral presentation to his or her advisory committee.

Comprehensive Examination

Upon completion of core and concentration required courses including AGSC 5350, students choosing the non-thesis option must take a comprehensive written and oral examination administered by the student’s advisory committee and other faculty members representing appropriate subject matter areas. The student’s major advisor will serve as chairperson of the committee conducting the examination.

If a student fails the comprehensive examination, one retake will be allowed. Should the student again fail, a third and final examination may be taken upon completion of additional course work (minimum of 6-credit hours) to be selected by the student’s advisory committee.

Programs of Study

Core Courses for All Concentrations

18-credit hours required for thesis students AND 17-credit hours required for non-thesis students.

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